‘You think you know, but you have no idea’: On anger, critical pedagogy and the dilemmas of being a teaching artist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

What constitutes ‘teacher identity’ and ‘artist identity’ have received considerable scholarly attention but there has been little exploration of how these identities intersect in the practice of ‘teaching artists’ (Booth 2003). This article argues that paying close attention to that practice, as well as the artist’s own perspectives and reflections on it, produces important insights into this intersection, including where it becomes both productive and problematic. Drawing on portraiture methodology (Lawrence-Lightfoot and Hoffman Davis 1997), it analyses how the Marshallese spoken word artist, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, structures and delivers workshops in order to develop the critical consciousness of participants. Drawing on Keane’s discussion of consciousness-raising and ‘ethical feeling’ in the feminist movement of the 1960s (2016), as well as insights derived from Ahmed’s re-conceptualisation of the ‘feminist killjoy’ (2010, 2017), the central role that the emotion of anger plays in her approach is explored. The article goes on to share some of Jetñil-Kijiner’s own reflections on the workshops, their outcomes, and her complex positionality as a Marshallese artist engaged in de-colonial work within a neo-colonial context. In conclusion, some broader questions about the artist/teacher intersection, the transferability of critical pedagogical approaches, and the challenges of teaching through emotion are raised.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPedagogy, Culture and Society
Early online date18 Sept 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sept 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner
  • Marshall Islands
  • teaching artist
  • critical pedagogy
  • portraiture methodology
  • youth spoken word poetry


Dive into the research topics of '‘You think you know, but you have no idea’: On anger, critical pedagogy and the dilemmas of being a teaching artist'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this